Joy Swoyer Kosisky was part of our Turner family, taken from us all too soon at 43 on July 15, a week after being in a car accident in Georgia. She was going to join us the next day in Las Vegas to cover the Summer League. She was aptly named — always smiling and pleasant, an award-winning technical director who’d been with CNN and Turner since 2005, one of the dozens of people who come in early and stay late to make sure that the game broadcasts go off without a hitch, that the shots are right, that the graphics are accurate. She worked all of Turner’s big events, and in a business where people are often quick to cut you down, no one had a bad word to say about her.
Watching your favorite basketball team’s games from another city no longer requires an expensive, season-long subscription package. Beginning next season, the NBA will offer individual, out-of-market games for $6.99. That price gets you streaming rights on smartphones, tablets, and PCs, but it also lets you tune in from any cable / satellite provider that currently offers NBA’s League Pass. That list probably includes whoever you’re paying for cable now: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Dish, Verizon, AT&T, and others already participate in League Pass. So this goes beyond mere streaming and takes on a pay-per-view feel. There is one caveat, though; nationally televised games can’t be purchased this way — since anyone can just watch on ESPN or whatever network they’re on.
The decision to offer individual games can be seen as the NBA’s realization that casual fans probably find the $199 subscription price of League Pass far too costly. Buying single games isn’t the only solution that commissioner Adam Silver and league executives have come up with; a new $119 package (also new for the upcoming season) will get you all out-of-market games for a team of your choosing. $6.99 isn’t exactly cheap. But if there are certain matchups you’re really looking forward to, it could be worth the occasional one-off purchase and will ultimately cost a fraction of going all in on League Pass — or opening a tab at your local sports bar.
As The Hollywood Reporter first reported in an HBO cover story in mid-June, the ESPN cast-off will make HBO his exclusive TV home. At the premium cable network, Simmons will launch his own talk show in 2016. The weekly show, which will air on HBO’s linear service as well as HBO Go and HBO Now, will be both topical and spontaneous, with stories and guests across the sports and cultural landscape. As part of the multi-year, multi-platform pact, which begins in October, Simmons will also have a production deal to produce content for the network and its digital platforms, delivering video, podcasts and features as he did at ESPN. Additionally, the long-time sports personality will consult for HBO Sports, working closely with HBO Sports president Ken Hershman on non-boxing-related programming, including the development of shows and documentary films for the network.
“We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time. His intelligence, talent and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers. We could not be more thrilled for him to bring those talents to HBO and to become a signature voice at the network, spanning the sports and pop culture landscapes,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said in a statement Wednesday.